What is the John Philip Sousa Award for band students?

Q: What is the John Philip Sousa Award for band students?

A: The John Philip Sousa Award is an optional award a high school band director may award to one of his students. It is restricted to one per school per year (or two in the rare event of a tie). The award recognizes superior musicianship, dependability, loyalty, and cooperation. Band directors may order the award from The Instrumentalist magazine (200 Northfield, Northfield, IL 60093 ... phone 847-446-8550 or visit their website).

The Semper Fidelis Award may also be awarded to high school band students. Band directors that wish to nominate a student (a junior or senior who holds a "first chair" position) should contact the local U.S. Marine recruiter serving their high school. (Thanks to Sgt. Michael J. Bess for this information!)

John Philip Sousa award
  • Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Comments (34)

  • Chelbi Copes

    Chelbi Copes

    27 December 2012 at 18:19 |
    I'm a proud Sousa award winner AND was involved in one of the rare ties!
    • Jenn


      26 June 2014 at 18:49 |
      As was I for both the award and the tie
  • J.C. short

    J.C. short

    07 May 2013 at 19:50 |
    I just recieved the Louis Armstrong award and the John phillip souse award tonight it is really an honor to recieve it. And im a senior by the way
  • Devin McAreavy

    Devin McAreavy

    24 May 2013 at 18:59 |
    I received the John Philip Sousa award at my high school. I was very honored.
  • Andrea Bangolan

    Andrea Bangolan

    31 May 2013 at 15:56 |
    I received this award tonight from my high school band director and as a senior, drum major and euphonium player I cannot be more proud! Congratulations to all the winners this year!
  • Ladybug Crossing

    Ladybug Crossing

    07 June 2013 at 11:26 |
    My daughter received both the Semper Fidelis and the John Philip Sousa Award this year. We are so incredibly proud of her!
  • William Davis

    William Davis

    19 September 2013 at 10:24 |
    Im a proud recipient of the JPS Award from Moore, OK High School, 1988.
  • Bobby Bean

    Bobby Bean

    12 October 2013 at 17:34 |
    Received the JPS Award and was very honored.
    Okolona High School 1985-1986
    Okolona, Mississippi
  • Michael Wilson

    Michael Wilson

    23 October 2013 at 19:03 |
    I am a recipient that was involved in a tie for this award.
  • David Pelton

    David Pelton

    09 April 2014 at 17:52 |
    Proud that I was a 1980 (yes, 1980) winner of the JPS Award.
  • Aubrey DeBraal

    Aubrey DeBraal

    01 May 2014 at 19:25 |
    I am proud to receive this award tonight at my school's awards night
  • Kim Bennett

    Kim Bennett

    07 May 2014 at 14:36 |
    I received this award in 1976 from Suwannee High School in Live Oak, Fla...I was very honored..Did not expect it since I was a Drummer...Thrilled Award still sits out even after 40 years!
    Kim Richardson Bennett
  • Susan Newell

    Susan Newell

    11 May 2014 at 09:19 |
    My son, Will - tubist, is the proud recipient of a JPS Band Award, involved in one of the rare two way ties, on Sat. May 10, 2014 @ Mountain Ridge H.S., Glendale, AZ. Both seniors most definitely deserved this honour. And, btw, my own older brother, Jim - trumpeter, received this honour back in May 1975 from Cortez H.S. in Phoenix, AZ. Our families are so proud! Thank you.
  • Luci Sloan

    Luci Sloan

    12 May 2014 at 07:34 |
    My son, Eric, an alto and soprano sax player, received the JPS Band Award on Saturday, May 10, 2014 @ Shenandoah Valley Academy High School in New Market, VA. Our family are very proud of his accomplishments!!!!!
    Thank You.
  • Angel Perez

    Angel Perez

    16 May 2014 at 12:36 |
    Iam proud of my lil. Girl Melany E. Perez for Her achivment
  • David Greer

    David Greer

    17 May 2014 at 20:57 |
    My daughter, who is a percussionist and a senior, just received the JPS award tonight from her band director Brock Cobb from Rossview High School in Clarksville, Tennessee. Her mother and I are so very proud of her musical accomplishments. She is Memphis Tiger bound.
  • David Greer

    David Greer

    17 May 2014 at 21:00 |
    My daughter, who is a percussionist and a senior, just received the JPS award tonight from her band director Brock Cobb from Rossview High School in Clarksville, Tennessee. Her mother and I are so very proud of her musical accomplishments. She is Memphis Tiger bound. Class of 2014!
  • Freda Pierce

    Freda Pierce

    20 May 2014 at 09:16 |
    My nephew, Sean Williams just won the John Philip Sousa Award. We are all so proud of him. He graduated from Ada High School, Ada, OK and has been given full ride Band Scholarship to East Central University, Ada, Ok
  • keenan turner

    keenan turner

    20 May 2014 at 21:34 |
    How is the John Phillip Sousa band award given to a student? Does the class vote or does the director give it to the student?
  • Judy Ward

    Judy Ward

    24 May 2014 at 18:54 |
    My grandson, Christian Bruce was honored to receive from his band director the JPS Band Award on May 22, 2014 from Reagan High School In NC! He is quite an accomplished percussionist breaking every previous record at Reagan and more! This year alone he made 1st chair Snare, Mallets & Timpani in All County Band then 1st chair Mallets & Timpani in All District Band then selecting & making 1st chair Timpani in the All State Honors Band! Two years ago he broke his arm skiing with the church group & had a cast on it only 3 days before auditions. He figured it out, practuced hard and with 2 mallets in one hand still made 1st chair Mallets on All District Honors Band! He was told for 3 years that he was much too valuable and talented to be a Drum Major although placing first! We could not be any more proud of him!
  • Keith Jackowski

    Keith Jackowski

    28 May 2014 at 09:17 |
    My son was honored last night by receiving this award. He was also in the rare tie, the other student was just as deserving. In fact, it would have been a shame if it had to be one or the other, both were as dedicated and talented as any I've seen or heard. My son will be off to Wayne State University to study premed before going to Michigan State University to follow his dream of being a Vet. He will be playing in the university jazz band.
  • Eric Bruckshaw

    Eric Bruckshaw

    03 June 2014 at 04:57 |
    I received it in 8th grade, so I guess middle school band directors can also give them out.
  • Randy Redburn

    Randy Redburn

    15 September 2014 at 19:41 |
    Proud recipient of the Sousa award, 2003. Made a living with music for the better part of my twenties.
  • Diane Sampson

    Diane Sampson

    26 October 2014 at 22:15 |
    I won this award (alto sax) as did my hero, Karen Carpenter (drums) - It's the one award we have in common - No Grammies here!
  • Emily E.

    Emily E.

    15 April 2015 at 21:06 |
    My boyfriend received this award tonight! I am so proud of him. He's played percussion in the band for several years and is the drum major. I'm so glad his hard work was recognized. :)
  • Jon Kalvik

    Jon Kalvik

    06 May 2015 at 08:37 |
    My wonderful daughter won this award last night at her senior concert. She plays piano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones, clarinet and violin. Her mother and I could not be more proud of her.
  • Emily Deyarmond

    Emily Deyarmond

    12 May 2015 at 10:34 |
    I won it last night, and feels great!
  • Cheryl


    14 May 2015 at 13:51 |
    My daughter won this award last night. She plays Euphonium. She is a senior at Michigan Lutheran High School. Proud Mama for sure.
  • Jack


    21 May 2015 at 23:08 |
    I just recieved the JPS award tonight and still don't believe it. I'm a senior percussionist and I don't understand why I recieved this award for doing what is asked of me as a musician but I am very honored and deeply saddened to be leaving my director. Kelso, WA 5/21/2015
  • Hugh


    23 May 2015 at 15:48 |
    Our son Dakota received the John Philip Sousa Award last night, May 22,2015 from American Canyon High School. He is first chair flutist. We are so proud of him. As I am a U.S. Marine I am exceptionally proud!!!!!
    Semper Fi.


    25 May 2015 at 18:08 |
    My best friend and I split these last week.
  • Joyce


    28 May 2015 at 09:23 |
    Is the recipient of this award chosen by peers or the teacher or does it matter?
    • David Lovrien

      David Lovrien

      28 May 2015 at 09:25 |
      Joyce, it is awarded by the student's band director.
  • MSDL


    28 May 2015 at 19:47 |
    Our son Adrian (Tenor Sax) received the JPS award on 5-26-15 at Edinburg North High School in Edinburg, TX. We are so Proud & Excited for all his accomishment on his last yr of HS. We would like to thank his band director Mr Dempsey for nominating him. Good Luck Adrian on your State Solo & Ensemble competition this Saturday in Austin, TX... Love Mom, Dad & DJ.... Go Mighty Cougar Band!!!!

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